CBC Maritimes

Forestry at the crossroads : what's the highest use for trees ? A driver safety course designed for seniors / Phone-in: Mary Anne White and Richard Wassersug on The Science of Every Day Life

 
Forestry at the crossroads : what's the highest use for trees ? A driver safety course designed for seniors / Phone-in: Mary Anne White and Richard Wassersug on The Science of Every Day Life
From geological periods of millions of years to the femtosecond (one millionth of one billionth of a second) of lasers , scientists in different disciplines routinely work in time frames much longer and much shorter than we experience

Newsprint, Houses, or Biofuel ?  So far, Nova Scotia's forest industry has dodged the bullet. In the past decade, more than 200 pulp and paper mills across North America have closed - many of them in neighbouring New Brunswick, Québec and Maine. The North American forest industry has also lost money in 7 out of those 10 years. Now, it's faced by increased competition from countries where the trees grow faster and production costs are lower.
And while NS hasn't seen a single closure, yesterday we heard Scott Travers predict that it's only a matter of time. He's president of Minas Basin Pulp and Power, which makes 100% recycled paperboard products. But for mills that depend on trees, Mr Travers suggested that forestry companies turn their attention towards making a new product : biofuel like ethanol.
Wade Prest is with the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners & Operators Association. He told us why he's concerned about the possibility of pulp, paper & lumber operations shifting towards the production of ethanol and energy instead. He hasn't seen the data to convince him it would be either sustainable or the best use of trees.
When it comes to using wood in your province, what do you think the priorities should be ? What would you need to see to convince you that a particular path - whether the end product is lumber, pulp, paper, biofuel or a forest that captures carbon - is the best path ? Go to the Contact Us page.


Better Safe Than Sorry : Recently, we raised a topic that drew a torrent of emotional response. We asked how we should determine when it's time for elderly drivers to hang up the car keys for good.
One proposed answer is through a planned driving retirement program. The idea is to keep seniors on the road - safely - for as long as possible, and when they can no longer drive, to have programs to help them get around. These would include things like access to public transportation and tax breaks for car pooling. But which government, agency or organization will take the lead on that ?
In the meantime, drivers will continue to age - and drive. We spoke with John Pellerine, the Senior's Safety Co-ordinator for Antigonish Town and County. It sponsors a driving safety program called Operation Boomers that's funded by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.  

TIme's Up ! From the speed of chemical reactions in a lab, to the age of our universe, Drs Mary Anne White & Richard Wassersug are mightily impressed by the time scales over which science  works. Today discussed the incredibly long and short time frames that scientists work within, and then answered questions about The Science of Everyday Life. Mary Anne is University Research Professor of Chemistry & Physics at Dalhousie University; Richard Wassersug is Professor of Biology, Anatomy & Neurobiology at Dal, but joined us from Melbourne, Australia - where he's on sabbatical.

Podcast - requires flash to listen

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